Baseball notebook

La Russa returning as Cardinals manager

Associated Press / October 19, 2010

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Tony La Russa ended the usual postseason suspense, agreeing to a 16th season as St. Louis Cardinals manager.

The team announced a deal yesterday that included a mutual option for the 2012 season. Financial terms were not disclosed on the new contract, finalized 15 days after the end of a disappointing season that left the 66-year-old La Russa wondering if he’d worn out his welcome.

“For the last 10 days or so, Tony and I have had daily dialogue,’’ general manager John Mozeliak said. “And I’m happy to report that we’re welcoming him back.’’

Bullpen coach Marty Mason will not be retained, but the rest of the coaching staff will be offered contracts this week.

La Russa has a franchise-record 1,318 wins since joining the team as manager in 1996 and is third on the major league career victory list, needing 126 wins to pass John McGraw for second place. He has managed 4,935 games, second on the list.

The Cardinals have won eight division titles, two National League pennants, and a World Series title in 2006 under La Russa, but the franchise has not made it to the postseason in three of the last four seasons.

The Cardinals were heavily favored to win the NL Central but collapsed the final two months and were 86-76, five games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. Since driving home to northern California, La Russa had been in daily discussions with the team.

Apparently, a sticking point was security for the coaching staff. Pitching coach Dave Duncan, who has been with La Russa for 28 seasons, said recently he’d like to coach three more years.

Wedge hiring official
Eric Wedge was officially announced as the Seattle Mariners’ seventh manager since 2003, put in charge of a franchise a decade removed from its last playoff appearance and coming off a second 101-loss campaign in the past three seasons. “Eric brings the energy, passion, and leadership that we think is important as we move forward,’’ general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. Wedge, 42, oversaw a rebuilding effort in Cleveland, and took the Indians to within one victory of the 2007 World Series. He was the youngest of the candidates under consideration. “I think this is a terrific opportunity and I am excited to be a part of it,’’ said Wedge, who will be formally introduced today . . . Sandy Alderson will meet with Mets executives for the second time this week as New York continues its search for a GM. The Mets have received permission from the Blue Jays to interview Dana Brown, special assistant to GM Alex Anthopoulos . . . Coming off a 90-win season, the Padres signed most of their incumbent coaches to one-year contracts. The two staff changes were former Red Sox outfielder Dave Roberts becoming first base coach, replacing Rick Renteria, who was moved to bench coach with Ted Simmons not returning.

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